Agenda item

10:00 Wirral Children's Trust and LSCB/Safeguarding Protocol


  Using recent government guidance a protocol has been developed by Nancy Clarkson and Caroline McKenna to enable clarity regarding local accountability. The board was asked for comments regarding the protocol.


  Tina long requested a change in 6.1 reflecting services that safeguard children and young people.


  Councillor Tom Harney requested additional information regarding the roles of the Chief Executive and the Lead Member and the general public. Howard Cooper suggested that a paragraph should be added as how the Chief Executive and Lead Member fulfil their responsibilities.


Howard Cooper reported that he and Julia Hassall meet with the Chief Executive monthly to scrutinise Children’s Social Care.  This includes detailed performance data, human resources information and Safeguarding.


There is a requirement from this year to produce a Safeguarding annual report and for the Leader of the Council to sign off this report.  The previous Cabinet agreed for a group to be set up to strengthen safeguarding activity. This group has been established and includes three political leads and the Chief Executive. The group will keep an overview of safeguarding performance of the Council’s agencies so that the Council as a body can scrutinize this area.


Julia Hassall reported that in the case of the general public two new lay members will join the LSCB.  There is information on the website for members of the public regarding the public’s role.


Marie Armitage noted the Public Health view of Safeguarding in the broader context not just children at severe risk of injury.  The role of the citizen in protecting children and how to shift the balance back to the community rather than agencies.  In bringing lay members on board to the LSCB this can help with a cultural shift.


Councillor Phil Davies noted that executive summaries of Serious Case Reviews (SCRs) were reported to Cabinet to ensure that this significant area is reported in a public forum.  Reporting of SCRs may change with the new government.  Regarding the protocol he has concern that the Children’s Trust does not duplicate the work of the LSCB. 


Howard Cooper noted that this is a complex area.  He suggested that it is incumbent on Children’s Services Lead Member and the Director of Children’s Services to ensure that Cabinet members have sufficient training and support to evaluate this area.


Howard Cooper also expanded on proposed publication of full SCRs.  The purpose of SCRs is learning and improvement.  One concern is that if full reports are published there is a danger that writers will amend the content of the report which may impact on lessons to be learnt.  Howard Cooper’s view is that this change will make children less safe.


Councillor Phil Davies does not support publication of full SCR, but wants to ensure that there is confidence from the public that the lessons are being learnt. 


Councillor Sheila Clarke noted that if elected members are to be held accountable then they need to have the full understanding to ensure improvements.  It is incumbent on the Lead Member of Children’s Services to ensure that Cabinet members understand this. She suggested that opening cases up to the public may build public trust.



That subject to the changes outlined Wirral Children’s Trust Board endorse the protocol.

That the protocol will be reviewed by the LSCB and the final version returned to Wirral Children’s Trust Board.


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